Best Android Tablets [May 2014]

best-tablets-april-2014

The big spring rollout of smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and the upcoming LG G3 has pushed tablets to the wayside, but a lack of high profile launches in recent months does not mean a lack of quality options to choose from. In fact, May kicked off with the launch of Samsung’s latest lineup of Galaxy Tabs, which is where we begin our list.

5 — Samsung Galaxy Tab 4

Galaxy Tab4 10.1 (SM-T530) White_1

New to our list is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, which only started appearing on store shelves as of the first of the month. Available in 7, 8, and 10.1-inch versions, the Tab 4 makes up for a lack of top-tier specs with pricing that begins at $199. These are midrange tablets with 720p displays, but they score points for their lightweight and portable design. The new Tab 4 series makes our list partly based on the reputation of Samsung’s previous releases, but more because they promise a solid experience for those looking for a cheaper pathway to a secondary device.

4 — Nexus 7 2013

New Nexus 7 hand wm

With Google I/O right around the corner, there is hope we might see a new Nexus Tablet in the near future. For now, for those looking for a pure Android slate at an undeniable price, the Nexus 7 is the ticket. Aging internals like a Snapdragon S4 processor have the N7 feeling a little long in the tooth, but its $230 price tag still nets buyers a solid HD display and access to Android updates about as quickly as Google can make them available.

3 — Kindle Fire HDX

Amazon Kindle Fire HDX

The Kindle Fire HDX is about as far from a traditional Android tablet as anything on our list, but despite this fact it simply offers too much for its low price to not make our top five. While Amazon has chosen to build what amounts to a completely different operating system using the framework of Android, operating outside of Google’s standard version line, users can still expect a full-fledged tablet experience. The Kindle Fire HDX is available in both 7-inch and 8.9-inch variants featuring hi-def displays and retails for a price starting at $230. If mainlining Amazon’s library of digital content is your thing, this might be the tablet for you.

2 — Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet

sony-xperia-z2-tablet-6

If you are looking for a premium tablet with a true premium feel, the Xperia Z2 should be the first option you consider. This tablet mixes top-notch hardware with a sleek, modern design that only Sony could pull off. A blazing Snapdragon 801 processor is married with a solid 8.1MP camera and 1080p display, all within a package that measures a mere 6.1mm thick. The kicker? The whole thing is waterproof. You could use it in the shower, if you want (but we aren’t recommending it). How cool is that?

1 — Samsung Galaxy NotePro

Samsung Galaxy Note Pro DSC05107

The Galaxy NotePro hangs on to the top spot this month, and that shouldn’t be unexpected. No other manufacturer has been audacious enough to release such a power-packed tablet, which includes a 12.2-inch 2560×1600 display, 3GB RAM, and 8MP camera. The NotePro also takes advantage of the included S Pen stylus to make it a superior productivity tool. Our top choice is far from the several affordable tablets that grace this list. Its retail pricing starts around $700.

Honorable Mentions

  • LG G Pad 8.3 — Decently affordable and readily portable with its 8.3-inch display, the G Pad 8.3 is worth a look, especially with multiple US carriers offering the device and the availability of a Google Play Edition.
  • Lenovo Yoga 10 HD+ — Mixes midrange and top-tier specs with a unique design featuring a built-in kickstand, the newly available Yoga 10 HD+ doesn’t offer quite enough to crack the top five. Still worth consideration for those looking for a tablet that sits slightly outside the box.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition — A slew of newer tablets threaten the Note 10.1 2014 Edition’s place in Samsung’s lineup, but unless you want to drop the big bucks on the TabPro, those looking for the benefit of dedicated stylus input will want to check out this cheaper alternative.
  • Samsung Galaxy TabPro — The new Galaxy Tab 4 series boasts affordability, but the TabPro goes for full-fledged performance. More expensive as an option, but added benefits like a full HD display boost its case.
  • Amazon Kindle Fire HD — This is no Kindle Fire HDX, but Amazon’s 7-inch tablet sells for only $140 and comes with access to a plethora of content from the online retailer.

Tablets to look forward to

Nexus updates

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With Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 series already available and few announcements in regards to new slates from major competitors, there are few tablets on the horizon that jump to mind immediately. There is, however, the hope that Google will provide a Nexus tablet lineup refresh at Google I/O, which will take place in late June. Rumored possibilities include a revamped Nexus 7, a proposed Nexus 8, and the long-awaited refresh of the Nexus 10, which could be a joint production between Google and HTC. We have little to go off of in terms of specs, however.

It is unclear if the Android Silver program, a partnership between Google and device manufacturers that would replace the Nexus line of smartphones, will affect the future of Nexus tablets. It seems likely that the tech giant has at least one more round of updates slates in store for us.

What say you?

While Android tablets have been playing second fiddle to major handset releases in recent months, this is no knock on the number of quality slates currently available. We’ve given you our picks, now we want to know yours. Did we leave your favorite tablet out? Did we get the rankings all wrong? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Pitchy

    My tablet experience went from the 2nd gen iPad (which I stood in line for on the day of release) to a Galaxy Note 10.1 which I sold my iPad for. When the first Nexus 7 came out, I purchased it for my youngest daughter for Christmas and fell in love with that little tablet. So by the time when the 2013 model came out, I decided to dump my Note 10.1 and pick up the Nexus 7 2013. I love that thing. Everything about it! No bloatware, fast android updates, the perfect size of it where it fits easily in blue jean pockets or cargo pockets. It’s still fast and snappy a year later.

    I am glad to see it on this list!

  • Defenestratus

    I actually think that the Nexus 10 still deserves a top 5 spot due to its gorgeous screen and front facing speaks.

    • Mike

      I know I’m still using mine and don’t have any plans to upgrade anytime soon. Still the best tablet out there in my opinion.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    What other carrier is offering the LG G pad 8.3 except for Verizon?

    • Tojen1981

      Disappointed that its only offered on Verizon. I would have picked it up instead of the N7 if it would have been on att or t-mo.

      • JaswinderSinghJammu

        That’s what I thought that only Verizon offers the LTE version. I wish T-Mobile would bring it at WiFi price

        • Jeff

          I have the Verizon version. Only downside to it is that they downgraded the processor on it vs the wifi only version, I suppose to pay for the lte hardware.

  • steveb944

    X2 is waterproof? Holy crap. I need a price or T-Mobile availability ASAP.

  • toomuchgame441

    Android has yes to release a worthwhile tablet for me…. sorry, iOS and Windows still has the tablet game on lock.

    • mcl630

      Android tablets got 66% of the tablet market in Q1 2014… so no iOS and Windows DO NOT have a “lock.”

    • Satan’s Taint

      Too bad facts don’t bear that out. You should stick to something you know about.

      • toomuchgame441

        Android tabs are trash, still aren’t many tablet optimized apps. Some are so so. IOS and Windows have a more consistent experience IMO… don’t be mad bro.

        • improvius

          Windows 8 is a consistently aggravating experience.

  • irishrally

    Still happy with my Nexus 10. Don’t feel the urge to upgrade.

  • uniquename72

    Come back ASUS! My Transformer Prime is a slow, laggy dog of a tablet, but the form factor (with keyboard) is perfect.

    • epyon

      My TF300T was pretty much unusable… until I threw CM 11 on it. My god did that make a difference. It’s like a whole new tablet.

  • Adam Berg

    I would put the tabpro in second place. Tab pro 8.4 is 2560×1600 (not full hd as mentioned) and it’s probably the most high res of all tablets.
    Any news about the romoured Samsung oled tablets or a new Note 8.0?

  • stephAWhitman

    Some of the best new tablets are available through — iProTablet

    Which features six new models to launch this month, including the new iFive mini4 ($199) which is the first 8-inch Android tablet available with a retina-quality, 2048×1536 display; plus the new Pipo T9($277) with an 8.9″ tablet with features comparable to the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ tablet – plus offers a 3G HSPA+ SIM card slot with Internet and that also makes voice calls like a regular Android phone.

    Also launching this week and available through iProTablet is the Ramos i10 Pro ($399) and is the first hybrid tablet that let’s you use both Windows 8.1 and Android and easily switch between the two… and offers a 10-inch full HD 1920X1200 display, an Intel Bay Trail 64-bit processor, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and an 8000 mAh battery.

  • BlueHelmet

    Buy a Kindle Fire HD 8.9, replace the original OS with Cyanogenmod 11.0, and you get a KitKat tablet with the great hardware and no bloatware at a dirt cheap price.

  • mrjoeyloke

    You probably should mention the yoga 10 tablets! Best tablet i’ve ever had!

  • AS

    I’m hoping for an 8in tegra k1 with hopefully 1440p/1600p screen and stylus. If this was a nexus 8, I’d be happy.

    • http://thebeeobee.com/ thebeeobee

      +1! Even though I heard that the benchmarked K1’s that they’ve been showing off were huge wattage drainers so they not really be representative of what will be inside of a shipping tablet. Still, this is what I want.

  • Martin Lane

    Bad list.
    1. Samsung Galaxy Note Pro
    2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014
    3. Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
    4. Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet
    5. Nexus 7 2013

    Sorry but the Samsung tablets are just that good, almost tempted to put the Nexus 10 at #5 but the Nexus 7 2013 is such good value it deserves a place.

    Amazon devices don’t deserve a place on the list, I don’t even class them as Android tablets.

    • Jeff

      Unfortunately, said amazon devices are the only ones that make amazon instant video easy.

      • Martin Lane

        It’s not like there aren’t alternatives Jeff, that’s a not a good reason.

        • Jeff

          Oh, I’m not disagreeing with your comment on amazon devices not being true android tablets. I just wish I could watch older episodes of 24 on my gpad with the official app instead of having to deal with workarounds. That to me would be the only benefit of getting a Kindle fire.

          • Martin Lane

            I don’t use Amazon for anything other than a bit of internet shopping, I suppose if your invested in the Amazon eco system already that’s something users need to consider.

            Netflix serves me well, not a fan of 24 but even if I was I can think of a easy alternative and it’s free.

        • anehlo

          From your comment, I’ve – perhaps incorrectly – inferred that you are able to watch Amazon Instant Video on your Android Tablet. Can you point me to somewhere which tells you how to do that?

          Unless you mean, there are alternative streaming services….in which case, I agree, but would still be nice to get Amazon Instant Video to work on Android.

  • jbworldwide1

    Ironically, my dog broke my tablet last night.(2012 N7, Long story) and I find this article soon after, so I’m now back in the market for a new tablet. It looks like I should wait for a couple months.

  • fourthletter

    They missed the Tegra Note 7.

    • Martin Lane

      Good budget tablet for a gamer, but the 1280×800 displays rules it out of the top 5 list.

      Arguably the best gaming tablet with that resolution but not for anything else.

      • Nathan McCrackan

        Well if that’s the case wth is Tab 4 doing in the list?

        • Martin Lane

          I agree, it shouldn’t be there either, it’s a horrible tablet.

          But It’s not my list.

  • Jeff

    I typically can’t stand LG products, as the overwhelming majority of their Android phones have been total crap, but I love my G pad 8.3 lte. Perfect for what I use it for…netflix.

  • Meeta

    If you are looking for tablet now in may then go for samsung. I think samsung is best brand which already captured tablet market by providing various tablets in affordable range for every segment. You can check all about at samsung tablets official site

    http://www.samsung.com/in/consumer/mobile-phone/mobile-phone/tablet/

  • MineIsBetterThanYours

    I HATE Apple with a passion, but alas to say until the playing field is leveled for apps, iPad still had the upperhand. There are MANY apps that I want to use to interface with specific music gear I have and these companies (like ALL of them) REFUSE to develop for Android. They’re not even available. Been considering a tablet, and would MUCH rather have Android, but it’s leaving me no choice I’m afraid…